A TOP Vietnamese government official has hailed joint efforts to crack down on what he termed anti-Vietnamese political activity, including that of Khmer Krom rights activists, in provinces on both sides of the country’s border with Cambodia.
Speaking at the sixth annual session for the development of the countries’ border provinces in Phnom Penh yesterday, Vietnamese Vice Minister of Public Security Tran Dai Quang praised the cooperation of Cambodian authorities in halting anti-government “plots”.
“With the cooperation and positive assistance of the Cambodian armed forces, Vietnam’s police force has struggled to disable plots and operations of hostile forces opposing the Vietnamese revolution,” he told a group of 200 government officials.
Tran said joint operations had led to the arrest of one person for illegal possession of weapons and three others for anti-Vietnamese leafleting in the border area. He singled out Khmer Krom activists in the Mekong Delta as a target of the joint efforts.
“Such activities prevent them from hiring state and private radio broadcasting with the aim of propagandising against the traditional relationship and the alliance of the two countries, and reduces to a minimum the activities of the organisation ‘KKK’, which aims to oppose and destroy,” he said.
Rights groups say that the Khmer Krom – as Vietnam’s ethnic Khmer population is known – face ongoing persecution at the hands of local authorities.
Yont Tharo, a Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker and head of the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Cultural Centre in Cambodia, said any law-enforcement action that impinged upon freedom of expression was “unacceptable”.
However, Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak said Tran’s speech referred to a group of Khmer Krom who intended “to topple the Vietnamese government”.
“Our government respects the Constitution and the law, which will not allow any adversary group to use Cambodian territory to fight against neighbouring countries,” he said.